We need to turn our stadium into a fortress: Bengaluru FC's Simon Grayson

Bengaluru FC head coach, Simon Grayson called on the supporters to turn the stadium into a fortress as the Blues return to Sree Kanteerva Stadium after just playing a single home game in the last six matches. The Blues host ATK Mohun Bagan in the latest fixture of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL).

The Englishman expressed how the win against FC Goa helped the team’s motivation and a jubilant dressing room is ready for the next challenge. The Blues look to revamp their form and climb the ladder on the points table as the team sits in the seventh position with two wins out of seven matches.

Grayson was delighted with the reaction from the players in the last game and said that there was a certain edge to players in training and the team wants to take this mindset forward in the upcoming matches.

Simon Grayson was accompanied by the midfielder, Javi Hernandez in the official pre-match press conference. The Gaffer talked about the change in players’ attitudes, a positive environment inside the dressing room, and how home games lift everyone off of their seats.

Here are the excerpts from Grayson's pre-match press conference: 

An important win last week and you wanted a reaction from the team. How are you building on that?

Grayson: We are delighted with the reaction. I mentioned prior to the game that, there seems to be an edge to the players in training, really focused on what they were doing. And when you suffer a defeat as we did in Mumbai, you have to make sure there's a reaction and there was. All week we could sense that there was a purpose about the players, concentration about the players, and ultimately they took that into the game. So we worked extremely hard. The game plan that we went with the carried out very, very well. And when we had chances to score we took them at the right times and key players took our chances but also when other players had to meet blocks and saves at vital times, especially Gurpreet (Sandhu) during the first couple of minutes.

Players pulled off themselves to allow us to get the result. So it's been good, confidence obviously being boosted by that result against a strong FC Goa team but we certainly can't let that be the thing that's the end of us. And we have to go back to not working hard and being concentration levels high because you have to improve every game and see the weekend’s in even tougher tests against ATK Mohun Bagan.

How is the mood in the dressing room after an important win?

Grayson: It was a jubilant dressing room as you can imagine. You've got to make sure that you do enjoy them wins because the dressing room for the previous four games hasn't been a nice place to be and you have to get the balance right between enjoying that moment but also not getting too carried away because we've got a lot of work still to do in front of us to get to where we want to get to but it's a start. We broke the cycle of results that we've had. We have to build on it now. We have to make sure that we work even harder in training these last few weeks, the last few days, and then again next week, and keep improving. But obviously, keep believing and gain more confidence and belief that we can get another good result this weekend because certainly we know that we can do that to put it into practice again. But you can't think that you've broken the cycle completely if you don't work hard enough and do what you've been asked to do like we did last weekend.

ATK Mohun Bagan has a number of key players, is it time to focus on our players and how the game is going to turn out?

Grayson: Our approach to the game is no different as it has been for any other game. Again, we concentrate and look at the opposition, their strengths, and weaknesses, and then we put into practice our strengths and where we can hurt them as well. So, from a coaching perspective, the players are very clear on our game plan and what we need to do with the strengths as I said the weaknesses of the opposition but it’s what we’re going to do again, and what we did last week was very good. What we do at the weekend, boils down to last weekend that more players in our team won their individual battles against FC Goa than they did against us and that's simplifying football basically, you come out on top of the opposition you're playing against, you've got better chance of winning again. We did that last weekend and we have to do the same again this weekend.

In the last couple of months, you only had one home game. How important is the month of December for the season?

Grayson: Yeah, I think we've said all along that the start to the season has not been kind to us with a number of games that we've had away from home. This would be our eight-game and only the third game at home. So before you know, after this game, we go to Kerala then Jamshedpur, and then Hyderabad. So we've got three big games in the next four at home and everybody knows that this is a fortress and we have to make sure that we turn it into a fortress again, we suffered disappointment against East Bengal FC in the last home game, and we've got to make sure that we make this an intimidating place for the opposition.

Players bounce off of the energy of supporters and supporters bounce off the energy of the players and all of a sudden, a few bad results over the last few weeks can turn into positive ones by being at home and the atmosphere is an even more incredible atmosphere than normal so looking forward to it, but we have earned the right to win any much, whether you're home or away.

Here are the excerpts from Hernandez’s conference:

You scored two goals in an important fixture last time. How much of that has affected your confidence and how do you feel right now?

Hernandez: Not only me, we went to Goa in a very difficult situation, we lost the last four matches and FC Goa is a very good team. Our team showed very good character and we played a very good match and deserved the three points.

How do you look at ATK Mohun Bagan and what are you expecting in the upcoming match?

Hernandez: They are a very good and strong team, we have seen it last couple of years. It is going to be a tough match. In this league, I’ve played for four years and not a single game is easy. We have to play like the last match, improve on things that didn’t go our way, train hard for two-three days, prepare for the match and go for the three points. 

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